Chalayan’s latest collection sculpted a new look that was absolutely in tune with his spirit and his imagination over 25 years.

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“There was a lot of experimenting because I wanted the clothes to move, yet at the same time I wanted them to create shapes,” he explained.

“It was a lot of back and forth, but they were cut in such a way that I wanted them to swirl, to be soft and hard at the same time.”

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Showing in the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, which is the designer’s long term performance space, the venue seemed especially appropriate as the event was based on dance movements. Yet the show opened with blue and silver dresses with different layers of coverage and disclosure – a spirit of Chalayan ever since he showed Islamic clothing hiding and revealing the body back in the 1990s.

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The designer’s skill is in the balance between unexpected additions, such as what looked like hiking poles – and obscure cutting that let the designer show apparently simple designs. Dresses were wrapped subtly across the body while the finale had hemlines bouncing like a weightless crinoline.

“It was based on dance movements, and I wanted to capture it in the silhouette,” Chalayan explained, adding: “My whole thing was about dances that were inspired by colonialists in South America and in Japan. I wanted to catch that spirit.

“It was about pleasing the coloniser, but at the same time had this sort of friction. So I wanted to get that collision.”

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It is fascinating to see how the designer can make complex cutting appear so simple, if shapely, on the body. And at the same time have such deep thoughts about what he saw as the “post-colonial body” – meaning a study of dance and movement among various ethnic groups colonised by Western forces.

So Chalayan becomes the ultimate “influencers” with South America infiltrated by Portuguese, Spanish, and more recently American colonisation; while Japan was affected by the US from 1945-1952.

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The significance of Chalayan’s work is that it comes from a deep well of knowledge and research, yet, as he himself puts it: “The shapes and surfaces of the Chalayan wardrobe remain wearable and practical.”

Fashion students across the world: take note!